Here I sit, having recently moved our family a mere 1000km from where we used to be. We've gone from the busy-busy-always-driving-never-seeing-anyone-keeping-up-with-the-jones's-city. BC really is breathtaking. Abbotsford is lovely. The mild and mossy climate is both refreshing and rejuvenating, the children, like my plants outside, are thriving and relishing the blessing of the extended warm season. All is well. And to get here was another mere 13 hour drive with 4 children in the car with me alone. Meh, we can do anything!
Isaac and Egan's new school starts nearly a full hour later than their school did in Calgary. A full hour! So in addition to the hour we gained by moving west, we have been given and we graciously accept the gift of more time; an extra two hours in the mornings. Amen! Mornings are now this casual, laid-back, saunter through getting everything accomplished and give Mom and babies a wave as bigger children wave from the backyard gate to walk to catch the bus. Sigh. It's lovely.
Well, the house leaves a bit to be desired, for me anyway. Tripping over boxes and running an obstacle course through rooms around items yet to find their home and attempting to do anything quickly throughout unfamiliar kitchen cupboards is never my cup of tea - but - the rooms that are done are lovely. Really lovely. They're not actually DONE done, but they are LOVELY lovely. This building we are calling our house now doesn't quite feel like home yet - but it's already feeling so much more ready to be lived in than our house in Calgary ever did. For everything I miss about Calgary (which is primarily my lovely friends and the familiarity of where things are, both in the city AND in my home), that house is not one of them.
Yah. But. I'm rocking one baby to sleep while the other one is already snoozing peacefully. I so relish these moments - the moments of quiet, of solitude within a busy family, the soul-quenching times when a babe is heavy on my chest breathing deeply and falling into peaceful slumber with lidded eyes taking their ever slowing blinks. I live for these moments.
Then just every now and again, something oddly familiar yet not-so-comfortable hits me.
"Oh Laura, there's a problem. There is an extra chromosome."
'hello, heart? I thought we worked through this? what's the deal?'
well, it just somehow flips up here and there, with far less frequency than it used to be, and far less frequency than I ever would have imagined before, but when it's there, it hurts. It hurts.
However: I love this little man so much it hurts! the amount of love hurts far more, probably because it has stretched my heart so much farther than it or I knew possible. I adore reading Kelle Hampton's blog about her journey of her life now joined by her little munchkin whom she lovingly refers to as a 'designer kitten' with the magical extra chromosome. Her words have done much to allow God to lovingly restore my heart, to deepen and strengthen my faith in these early baby steps of being the parent to this beautiful little boy.
Its all so strange, though - in a moment where I am so in love with my life, in love with my family, feeling so richly blessed and treasuring EVERY aspect of this little Amos - everything! - it hurts my heart as his loving mama to know that I ever feel or ever felt anything but complete adoration for his precious self. Agh, he is so beautiful and is just the loveliest child ever; how could this be considered a 'defect'? Impossible. It's only those who have not been blessed by one of these 'designer kittens' that would call this a defect.
I am defective, not Amos. Many of us are defective. Not these precious magical children.
Amos looks like Jesus when he looks into your eyes, into your spirit. He studies your face, empathetically mimics your mood - his little body which is usually busy busy busy moving squirming squiggling all over will c o m p l e t e l y s t i l l - and in total silence with total and complete adoration he will drink in your entire face, his beautiful dark eyes flitting from spot to spot but only ever so briefly leaving the completely direct eye contact he has. When he does this - I swear you can see God peering into you. I swear. Agh, it makes me cry to just write it out, to say it out loud. Oh Amos. You precious boy.
Now when I hear that statement of "oh Laura, there's a problem. There is an extra chromosome." in my head, it looks different. At the time and when it hurt like being punched in the guts, I was so thankful it was the soft and lovely and eloquent doctor with the peaceful way of talking to Joel & I who gave us this information. But now, with this little spirit living in our home, our new baby and not something unfamiliar and scary, it hurts that he used the words "there's a problem."
This is not a problem. Maybe one day I will feel differently again, maybe when we run into more medical issues, or educational issues, or whatever and whenever. But for now, this is where I am, and I am choosing to firstly (in the words of Kelle Hampton) be governed by love. Secondly, I am blessed to be Amos's mama. Although down syndrome is considered to be the most common genetic birth defect (ouch! defect?) - and we all know a few people here and there who have down syndrome - it is revealing itself to be a gift that is unwrapped and quietly revealed in the slowed down, smiling, cooing, loving, gaze of this little scrunchie baby man with the fuzzy head - but a gift that not all that many people are blessed with. It is revealing itself to be a privilege - and far, far, far from being a defect. Ugh, I hate that word.